Fund manager and analyst Doug Kass passes on the following “10 things I’m hearing”. The rumours plus our reaction and comments below:
- The Bush administration/Treasury is actively considering closing the U.S. stock market to allow for a “time out” for further economic moves to be finalised and implemented. (Among one of the issues delaying the decision is complications surrounding Friday’s option expiration.)
We can believe they are considering it. We’d be surprised if they went through with it. Talk about a panic signal.
- Several sizeable ($10 billion-plus) hedge funds will announce their closure as early as Monday after they liquidated most of their (concentrated) equity positions late last week.
Very easy to believe. Just take a look at the hideous returns many top-tier funds have had.
- Several large funds of funds in Europe and the U.S. will also announce their closure shortly.
Also very easy to believe.
- A formerly well-regarded investment manager, who before 2007 had outperformed the S&P 500 index for many years in a row, will announce that he will depart from his role as manager of his high-profile fund by the end of the year.
Very easy to believe. The obvious guess would be Bill Miller. We hope it isn’t Bill, as we’d like to see him have a chance to restore his reputation.
- A series of cash takeovers — in the technology, energy and materials areas — are in advanced stages.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering directing criminal charges at the senior management of a failed Wall Street firm.
Christopher Cox already effectively pardoned Alan Schwartz at Bear Stearns a few days after Schwartz’s famous “everything’s great” appearance on CNBC. So this would be Lehman Brothers.
- Sen. John McCain’s (R., Ariz.) presidential campaign organisation is in disarray, and several high-level campaign members will be replaced this week.
Easy to believe. McCain has also responded to failure with firings before.
- Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) is working on a comprehensive policy solution to the current financial and credit market distress, and it could be presented as early as Tuesday (right before the next presidential debate).
Keeping fingers crossed. McCain said to be working on something similar.
- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will announce that he is not interested in continuing with the next administration (whether it is Republican or Democratic).
No surprise. And can’t say we blame him.
- A larger-than-expected ($175 billion to $200 billion) fiscal stimulus package is now under serious consideration.
Also no surprise. Here’s hoping it’s actual spending instead of just rebate checks. Alt energy, broadband wireless, roads/bridges…tons of stuff to spend it on.